The Terrible Sin Of Unforgiveness (Mark[11]25-26)

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The Terrible Sin of Unforgiveness


Text: Mark 11:25-26

Introduction:  There is a sin that will eat you up from the inside out.  It will destroy you like a growing cancer.  There is a sin that will make it impossible for you to live a victorious Christian life.  It is a poison to the soul.  I am not talking about drunkeness, I am not referring to enslavement to a mind-altering drug, I am not speaking of fornication.  These sins are certainly wicked, yet there is a "well respected" sin among Christians which is equally wicked.  What I am referring to is the terrible sin of unforgiveness; bitterness, an unforgiving spirit.  It is a sin that will destroy it's own container.  And once it gets loose it will corrupt many others.

Heb. 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

4088 pikria {pik-ree'-ah}  AV  - bitterness (4)

1) bitter gall, i.e extreme wickedness, a bitter root, and so producing a bitter fruit.

1a) Mererrah, denoting "that which is bitter" hence the term is applied to the "bile" or "gall" (the fluid secreted by the liver), from the intense bitterness, Job 16;13, 20:25;  it is also used of the "poison" of serpents, Job 20:14,

1b) Rosh, generally translated "gall" in the English Bible, is in Hos. 10:4, rendered "hemlock", in Dt. 32:33, and Job 20:16, "rosh" denotes the "poison" or "venom" of serpents.



Read Matthew 6:14-15

In vs.25 of our text Jesus continues His teaching on prayer.  Vs.24 is the prayer of faith, vs.25 the prayer of forgiveness.  Jesus said, "forgive, if ye have ought against any:".  You cannot begin to pray if you are harbouring unforgiveness or bitterness in your heart. 

Jesus goes on to say (vs.25), "But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses."  One of the first things we must do when we pray is to confess our sins.  Yet, if we come to pray and confess our sins while we have unforgiveness in our life we are wasting our time.

Human Nature does not like to Forgive.

Many just want revenge.  "I don't get mad, I just get even".  People mistakenly believe that their bitterness and refusal to forgive will make the other person suffer. 

But, the Bible says.....

Prov. 24:28-29 Be not a witness against thy neighbour without cause; and deceive not with thy lips.

29 Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work.

Rom. 12:17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

What in fact happens is that the bitter person becomes his own worst enemy destroying himself.

He who cannot forgive others burns the bridge over which he himself must pass.

Bitterness and unforgiveness is often a hidden sin, nobody may notice at first but the poison is doing it's hidden work.  Some Christians are like the golfer I heard about......

Golfer No. 1: "That's what I like about you, when your golf ball goes into the rough you

don't swear,"

Golfer No. 2: "'That may be; but where I spit, the grass dies!"

    Unforgiveness does not yield the right of vengeance to the Lord.

Rom. 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

    Unforgiveness is often a result of pride.

Unforgiveness is a sin that is often committed against those who should be the closest and dearest to us.  You've heard the saying "Familiarity breeds contempt" & "Why do we always hurt the ones we love."

Unforgiveness is a Family Sin.

It is a sin committed by husbands agaist their wives, wives against their husbands;  children against parents and parents against their children.  Brothers and sisters that will not forgive one another.

I Peter 3:7-9

Unforgiveness is a "Christian" Sin.

Fellow believers who will not talk to each other, cannot even look at each other and would not dare sit on the same side of the auditorium.  Believers who will not forgive their Pastor, and Pastors who will not forgive their people.  Is it any wonder that we have so many prayerless and powerless churches?

Matt. 5:21-24

Forgive Your Enemies

Prov. 24:17 Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth:

Rom. 12:20-21 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

Matt. 5:39-46 (Look up & Read)

The Model for Forgiveness

Eph 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

Col. 3:13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

A. We must forgive because we have been forgiven.

Scriptural Illustration:  The Parable of the Wicked Servant  Matt. 18:22-35

B. We must forgive as we have been forgiven.

How does God forgive? 

Let's begin by looking at how he accomplished our forgiveness.

He forgave that which he did not have to forgive.

He became our substitute, and suffered for our wrong doing.

I Peter 2:24

We must also be willing to suffer the consequences of wrong for others.

In his excellent book "The Bondage Breaker"  Neil Anderson says..."Forgiveness is agreeing to live with the consequences of another person's sin. Forgiveness is costly; we pay the price of the evil we forgive. Yet you're going to live with those consequences whether you want to or not; your only choice is whether you will do so in the bitterness of unforgiveness or the freedom of forgiveness. That's how Jesus forgave you--He took the consequences of your sin upon Himself. All true forgiveness is substitutional, because no one really forgives without bearing the penalty of the other person's sin."

I Cor. 4:11-13 Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace;

12 And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:

13 Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.

Paul, writing to Philemon in behalf of the young slave Onesimus said...

Philemon 18 If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account;

He Cleanses us.

I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

He forgets our sin.

Psalm 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

Micah 7:19 He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.


George Woodball was a missionary to London's inner city.  One day a young woman he had led to the Lord came to him and said, "I keep getting worried.  Has God really forgiven my past?"  Mr. Woodball replied, "If this is troubling you, I think I know what God would say to you.  He would tell you you mind your own business."  "What do you mean?" she inquired with a puzzled look.  He told her that Jesus had made her sins His business.  When He took them away, He put them behind His back, dropped them into the depths of the sea, and posted a notice that reads, "No fishing!"

Song: "What sins are you talking about"

How marvelous is the forgiveness of God!!  That is how we are to forgive our wives and husbands; our children; our parents; our brothers and sisters in Christ.  Some people say "I forgave them, but....  --  Aren't you glad God's forgiveness does not come with a but....  

We have never truly forgiven as long as we keep recreating the scene of our humiliation or persist in retelling the words that stabbed us.

If you have forgiven someone than why continue to dredge up the past?

God Continues to Forgive us

Matt. 18:21-22 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?

22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

We can stop forgiving others when Christ stops forgiving us.

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